Online shopping will contribute to more than half (53%) of the total retail sales in the next ten years, according to recent report commissioned by law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD).

The report, entitled The Digital Tipping Point, noted that the growth will be driven by three factors: the changing demographic of the UK adult population, the development of faster, cheaper, in-home deliveries, and fewer physical stores.

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Online shopping across all retail formats currently accounts for 19% of sales.

The research, conducted by Retail Economics, found that 62% of Generation Z (Gen Z) consumers are expected to shop online at least every fortnight, making them the dominant consumer age group.

“Online retail is being driven on apace due to a combination of factors and early adopters in the retail market, who can flex and adapt their business models quickly.”

It also mentioned that 22.1% of online purchases are made by millennials, with an average of £42.32 per online transactions and spending £110.45 a month.

More than half (53%) of Gen Z consumers agreed that they are influenced by smartphones, in terms of awareness of new retailers or brands, compared to only 3% of shoppers aged 65 and above.

The report mentioned that three factors, including cheaper (47%) and faster (26%) delivery and easier returns (26%) will accelerate online shopping for consumers in terms of delivery.

Of all the age groups, 28% of Gen Z and 30% of millennial consumers agreed that easier returns are more important when shopping online.

The report also found that 10% of customers would shop less in physical stores in the next 12 months and more than 25% of the respondents agreed that they have taken some action to limit the amount of data accessed by companies.

Womble Bond Dickinson retail head Gavin Matthews said: “Online retail is being driven on apace due to a combination of factors and early adopters in the retail market who can flex and adapt their business models quickly will rise to the top.

“However, as retailers leverage new technologies to support this growth, new risks also emerge. Consumers are increasingly conscious of the need to protect personal data and their privacy in order to reduce the risk of fraud, identity theft and misuse of their data.

“Real damage can be done to a retailer’s brand and reputation with any data breach and loss of trust can have far reaching consequences for any business and its bottom line.”